Robotics training lab coming to Ivy Tech in Elkhart County

By Tiffany Salameh | September 17, 2019

GOSHEN, Ind. – Robotics in the workforce is becoming more commonplace. That’s why Ivy Tech in Elkhart is going to start training their students to work hands on with automation with the help of a $1.47 million contribution from the county council.

The money is going towards an entire “iFlex” robotics lab which will streamline the process for students between class and the workforce.

“it’s going to go towards two things really building a facility and making sure that we have the appropriate infrastructure, equipment, that we need to train students,” Natalie Medich said, the Advanced Manufacturing, Robotic and Industrial Tech Chair at Ivy Tech. “It’s actually very vital. Our businesses are moving towards automation for our manufacturing facilities.

Factories like Thor Motors and Lippert Components are already using some robots similar to the ones at Ivy Tech College right now.

Back in 2015, the Brookings Institute ranked Elkhart County #1 in the nation for robots per 1,000 workers. Medich said that with the new lab workforces in Elkhart are likely just going to keep growing with automated technology.

“That type of training is rare here in Elkhart County,” Medich said.

Ivy Tech student and robotics lab tech Paul Troxel said the new facility is both exciting and necessary. On top of his class load, Troxel also works fulltime at Lippert Components, working with robots.

 “It’s going to be everywhere, I already know the plant across the street have got two full size robots they’re going automated with,  we have a couple of more plants with automation cells in them and I know there’s just more coming,” Troxel said.

Despite common misconception, Medich said automation does not always take away jobs. In manufacturing, it brings better and higher paying jobs. A heavily automated start-up company called Brinco just announced plans to bring 250 jobs to Bristol by 2021.

Both Medich and Troxel agree that automation is nothing to be scared of but rather welcomed.

“Just embrace the change. This is the way it’s going to be,” Troxel said.

The new robotics facility is scheduled to break ground in summer of 2020.  

Source: https://www.abc57.com/news/robotics-training-lab-coming-to-ivy-tech-in-elkhart-county

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RV Technical Institute Officially Opens in Elkhart

By Merritt McLaughlin, Writer/Reporter | September 23, 2019

ELKHART – The RV Technical Institute has officially opened in Elkhart. The new 18,000-square-foot facility features seven classrooms and aims to directly address the shortage of RV technicians while improving consumer experience. 

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Executive Director of the RVTI Curt Hemmeler says the institute has big plans to address the shortage on a statewide and national level. 

The nonprofit institute was funded by collection of $10 million from the RV industry.

Hemmeler says the industry has about a 20-25 percent shortage statewide for RV technicians. The institute offers training to individuals who would fill that gap and upon completion, be stationed in a dealership or as a mobile tech almost immediately. He says more trained technicians will reduce the time it takes to repair the recreational vehicles and thus improve the consumer experience. 

However, the initiative doesn’t stop with the Elkhart facility. The RVTI is set up as the “central hub,” as it is in close range of suppliers and manufacturers in Michiana, however Hemmeler says the institute has licensed partners that will teach its curriculum nationwide. 

“Of course, you can always come here in Elkhart to train, but we’ve also created the curriculum in a learning management system that allows us to distribute the education across the country. Though it will always be an option to train in Elkhart at the physical facility here, we will have licensed partners across the country who will also be teaching our curriculum and educating folks in the industry with our curriculum. Places such as other dealerships, community colleges, we recently signed an agreement with Camping World, who will be training their employees with our curriculum.”

Hemmeler said RVTI has even partnered with a correctional facility to train non-felon female inmates to become RV technicians on location. 

The RVTI had its official first day of classes and held a grand opening ceremony Monday.

Hemmeler says the institute will launch curriculum nationwide.

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/41087801/rvti-officially-opens-in-elkhart

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Getting the Word Out About Manufacturing & Logistics

By J. Mark Howell, President and Chief Executive Officer, Conexus Indiana | September 20, 2019

As the epicenter of the nation’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, Indiana has a compelling story to tell about how Hoosier companies make and move the goods people depend on every day.

Our goal is to ensure everyone hears these stories – many of which share a common theme focused on cutting-edge technologies that are transforming the way products are made and moved around the world and the people who use them.

Conexus Indiana launched an educational series earlier this year to bring these stories to young adults around the state. Through our Movers, Makers & Mixers events we have stimulated lively discussions about advanced manufacturing and logistics in the 21st Century and dispelled myths about the industries.

Indiana’s leadership position in the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries is evident in the numbers. One in five Hoosiers works in these industries and Indiana leads the nation in manufacturing job growth while offering competitive salaries upwards of $77,500 in the manufacturing sector and $65,000 in logistics.

Perceptions about careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics, however, aren’t as impressive.

Our research shows that most Hoosiers are unfamiliar with the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries and as a result have negative or outdated perceptions of careers in these industry sectors. Our research also shows that most people don’t know these industries offer meaningful, good-paying careers with benefits and opportunities to grow and make an impact.

Those familiar with the industries, however, are more likely to have positive perceptions of the industry. Educators have confirmed that once students are exposed to manufacturing and logistics and learn about the innovative and high-tech technologies used to make and move products, the more likely they are to be excited about pursuing a career in these industry sectors.

Movers, Makers & Mixers is one of many talent programs Conexus Indiana developed and delivers to change perceptions and engage more people in the industry.

Industry trailblazers and thought leaders have helped us share stories about the impact of technologies, such as 3D printing, Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, block chain, augmented and virtual reality and big data, on the industries’ competitiveness, productivity and profitability. We’ve reached hundreds of young adults this year and will continue our tour throughout 2020.

The Movers, Makers & Mixers events underscore the benefits of storytelling and verify effective ways to impact perceptions. Specifically, we’ve learned:

The data are accurate; the more people know about the industries, the greater interest they show in pursuing careers in those industries. Industry partners from Cummins, ClearObject, and Cook Regentec energized young adults and stretched their imaginations when talking about what it means to be a manufacturer, the migration of technology into these industries and how it is redefining manufacturing and logistics.

It’s never too early or too late to share stories about the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries. Our Movers, Makers & Mixers events are geared toward young adults, but we also offer programs to students in high school and college, as well as working adults. Central to our programs are opportunities for students to interact with industry experts and visit manufacturing and logistics operations.  

We need to be relentless in telling our industries’ stories. We’ve got so many stories to tell and so many incredible people who want to help us spread the word.

Our work reaches across the state in high school classrooms, on college campuses, in manufacturing and logistics facilities, at large events and, in the case of Movers, Makers & Mixers, in local breweries and restaurants.

Movers, Makers & Mixers has made five stops around the state with three more events planned later this year in South Bend and Terre Haute in September and Evansville in November. You can register to attend our events by clicking here.

Our stories are only going to get more interesting as the industries evolve. It’s a great time to be a storyteller – and to be a mover or maker.

J. Mark Howell is the chief executive officer of Conexus Indiana.

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/41074556/getting-the-word-out-about-manufacturing-logistics

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Keystone RV Celebrates Milestone

By Merritt McLaughlin, Writer/Reporter | August 30, 2019

GOSHEN – A Goshen-based recreational vehicle manufacturer has hit a major milestone. Keystone RV Co. has officially shipped its one millionth RV, to be delivered and sold at Walnut Ridge Family RV Center in New Castle.

A ceremony to commemorate the sale was held with employees and partners this week. A ribbon cutting ceremony also sent off the 2020 Keystone Montana 3761FL, driven away by a 2020 Sierra 2500 HD Denali.

“We can’t understate how honored we are to have had the support of hundreds of dealers, thousands of employees, and soon to be one million Keystone RV owners over the past twenty-three years,” said Jeff Runels, chief executive officer and president of the company in a news release.

Keystone RV Co. was officially founded in 1996. 

Source: http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/story/40985916/keystone-rv-co-celebrates-milestone

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Become a better leader – Listen!

Listening — it seems so simple. Yet, it’s estimated that the average person ignores, forgets, or misunderstands at least 75% of what he or she hears. Is it any wonder that mistakes occur, opportunities are missed, or that the “I’ll take care of it!” never happens?

Have you ever caught yourself saying “I know I’m forgetting something”? Does your family ever say “would you just listen to me”? Is building a better business environment and strengthening family relationships top on your priority list? If you have answered YES to any of these questions, this workshop is for YOU!

The Pfeil Innovation Center, sponsored by Beacon Health System, is proud to present the one-day LISTENING PAYS® workshop on November 20th  and December 2nd.  More details >>

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Environmental & Safety Conference

Stay ahead of regulatory changes at the Environmental & Safety Conference on Wednesday, November 4th from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Conference location is the Lerner Theatre, 410 South Main Street, downtown Elkhart. Download registration document or click here to register.

Conference topics will include:

  • OSHA recordkeeping and ways to save on insurance
  • Hearing loss prevention
  • Asbestos, silica and chromium
  • Soil remediation
  • Waters of the United States
  • Problem-solving with environmental audits
  • Planning annual environmental calendar
  • Hazardous waste determination
  • NESHAP/MACT/GACT Hot topics
  • Impact of proposed ozone standard
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Innovation

The Pfeil Innovation Center in South Bend, Indiana is helping for-profit and non-profit organizations develop Innovation as a core competency.  Named in honor of Indiana entrepreneur, innovation pioneer and visionary businessman Richard J. Pfeil, the Center opened March 2011.  To date, more than 1,000+ enthusiastic thinkers from over 100 future-minded organizations are inspired to innovate daily after attending one of the Center’s two-day Innovation Leadership Immersions.

Beacon Health System, Pfeil Innovation Center’s champion of innovation in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan, believes in

  • innovation as a core value,
  • innovation as a driver of growth and prosperity, and
  • innovation as a teachable trait that can benefit any organization, anywhere.

Leaders, individual disruptors of mediocrity, and dedicated teams are invited to join the innovation in-crowd and register today for an upcoming Innovation Leadership Immersion session, click here for the details, wakeupandsmelltheinnovation.com.

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2015 Wage & Benefit Report

Elkhart County employers can now access a key resource to use when setting or negotiating wages and benefits – the 2015 Elkhart County Wage & Benefit Report.

Kruggel, Lawton & Company, LLC, a top 500 accounting, tax and business advisory firm, provided analysis of the data for the published report.

Report shares information for,
• 150+ positions, from CEO to housekeeping, in administrative, technical, sales, production, legal, medical.
• Benefits section summarizes costs, health care plans and options.
• Typical practices and policies for vacation, time off, retirement, training and incentives.
Read more >>

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North Central Indiana: ACC Climate Control to Add New Jobs

Elkhart County, Ind. (June 26, 2015) – Two companies today announced plans to expand their operations and create 120 new jobs in Elkhart County.

“Indiana is a Midwest leader in job creation because companies like ACC Climate Control and Monogram Foods are confident in our state and in our workforce,” said Governor Mike Pence. “By building one of the nation’s top business climates, companies are moving forward with their plans to expand and create new jobs, making Indiana a state that works.”

ACC Climate Control, which designs, manufactures and installs custom mobile air conditioning and heating systems for specialty vehicles, will invest $9.95 million to construct and equip a new 135,000-square-foot facility at 22150 Challenger Drive in Elkhart.

“The investment and job creation ACC Climate Control is making in Elkhart County speaks volumes about our county’s competitive resources for companies in the automotive sector. It gives us a great sense of pride to know that the products made right here in Elkhart County will equip automotive and specialty vehicles throughout the United States. We look forward to the company’s continued success here in Elkhart County and around the county,” said David Foutz, Elkhart County councilman.

The new building, which will house a metal fabrication plant, production assembly, a test laboratory as well as offices, will increase the company’s space to meet demands for future growth in the small and transit/coach bus market. It is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

“The new facility allows us to double production and warehouse space. Currently, Spheros North America imports transit bus air conditioning systems from various manufacturing plants around the world. Now they will be manufactured in the United States, reducing time to market and placing Spheros in a very competitive position in the bus industry,” said Casey Cummings, chief executive officer of ACC Climate Control.

Founded in 1948 and acquired by Spheros in January 2015, ACC Climate Control currently employs 110 Hoosiers and plans to create up to 45 new jobs by 2018. The company will hire production and engineering positions as needed. Interested applicants can learn more at www.accclimatecontrol.com.

About ACC Climate Control

ACC Climate Control, which produces bus air conditioning and specialty vehicle climate control products, was founded in 1948 and acquired by Spheros in January 2015. As a division of the international Spheros Group, we are a global trendsetter in the design and manufacturing of economical, eco-friendly and reliable heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for buses. Spheros’ worldwide headquarters is in Gilching near Munich, Germany, and guarantees customer proximity and service with 17 sites around the world, making Spheros the world market leader in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems for all types of buses.

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Growing by Leaps & Bounds

$72 million in new investment from January through May 2015.  Booming capitalism with strong leadership directing the future path.  Embracing the new vision, new board members join in the growth strategies of diversification, innovation and economic change.  We welcome Grace Bonewitz, Gregg Fore, Rich Hill, Jim Malone, Tom McCuddy and Amy Sink.
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